First-half - first Nantwich Town goal - Callum Saunders celebrates with teammates (1)

Nantwich Town got back to winning ways in the Evo-Stik Premier Division with a hard fought 2-0 victory over Bamber Bridge, writes James Brown.

Goals by Callum Saunders and Joe Malkin goals in each half at the Weaver Stadium were enough to seal a comfortable win in front of 300 supporters.

The visitors started brightly with Alistair Waddecar testing Will Jaaskelainen from range.

The first big moment in the game came on 10 minutes when Saunders brought a long ball down took it past Bamber Bridge keeper Lloyd Rigby who caught the striker giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.

Danny Glover stepped up, however Rigby made amends with an excellent stop low to his right.

Bamber Bridge were reliant on their keeper two minutes later to keep out a Sean Cooke free-kick as Nantwich threatened with Louis Barnes also firing a rocket wide.

The visitors came close to taking the lead 10 minutes before half-time when Matthew Dudley saw a well struck effort come back off the post with Jaaskelainen beaten.

Moments before the end of the first half, the Dabbers scored what proved to be an important opening goal.

First-half - Danny Glover penalty is saved by Bamber Bridge keeper Lloyd Rigby (1)

A lofted free-kick from Cooke towards the back post was turned across the six-yard box by Toby Mullarkey for Saunders to fire home from close range.

It was almost 1-1 instantly however Nantwich survived as Darren McKnight hit a powerful free-kick against the crossbar from range.

A quiet start to the second half saw Bamber Bridge control most of the possession but they lacked a cutting edge required to get themselves level.

Waddecar came closest after an hour with a short corner routine which saw the midfielder fire towards goal, forcing Jaaskelainen into a good save.

James Lawrie and Malkin both came on as the Dabbers went in search of a second goal, replacing Cooke and Glover.

Saunders was still putting in plenty of running, breaking through a Bamber Bridge offside trap but wasting an opportunity with a miscued shot.

Visitors captain Matt Lawlor also came close in an end-to-end second half, heading a corner well over.

Second-half - Bamber Bridge head the ball clear (1)

With both sides looking for that all important second goal, counter attacks were frequent and the visitors almost capitalised when Chris Marlow’s low effort was saved at his near post by Jaaskelainen.

Down the other end with eight minutes remaining came the decisive moment.

Some fantastic chasing from substitute Malkin saw the striker take advantage of a weak header from Lawlor, getting in front of Rigby to brilliantly convert into an open goal.

Saunders almost netted his second with three minutes to go but was denied by another superb save from Rigby who reacted quickly to keep out the striker’s acrobatic volley from close range as the 301 in attendance were about to erupt.

Bamber Bridge continued to press for a goal back, but nothing was getting past the Dabbers back line and Jaaskelainen as the victory was secured.

After an important three points to keep the pressure on the leaders and pull away in the play-off race, Nantwich will look for back-to-back home wins on Saturday afternoon when Stalybridge Celtic visit The Weaver (3pm kick-off).

Nantwich Town: Will Jaaskelainen, Jamie Morgan, Louis Barnes, Joel Stair, Toby Mullarkey, Caspar Hughes (c) (Joe Mwasile 87’), Troy Bourne, Matt Bell, Danny Glover (Joe Malkin 64’), Sean Cooke (James Lawrie 62’), Callum Saunders. Subs not used: Nathan Cotterell, Ricardo Fuller.

Second-half - second Nantwich goal - substitute Joe Malkin celebrates his goal (1)

Second-half - Joe Mwasile on the ball (1) (1)

First-half - first Nantwich Town goal - Callum Saunders fires home from close range (1)

Second-half - Joe Malkin controls the ball under pressure (1)

Second-half - Ricardo Fuller warmsup (1)

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